Any one else out there ever experience the streak of fear when your beloved horse starts coughing and turns away from their food?  Do you know the signs?  Do you know what to do before you call the vet?  Don't get me wrong, I do recommend a vet check after a choke incident.  When our horses have choked in the past, it has varied in severity.  I have seen everything from a persistent cough to laying down and rolling the standing and coughing. It almost looks like colic sometimes.  The cough is produced when the horse is trying to force the obstruction back up to its mouth. As time goes on the horse will tense, humping their back, pulling their head up, and then dropping the head while slimy stuff comes out of the nose and mouth.  It is quite scary to see.  Even more so when you feel helpless.  We ave resolved a few chokes with out the vet, but due to the chance of something making it's way into the lungs, I suggest an exam and antibiotics as a preventative.  We start treatment by haltering and slowly walking the horse to a quiet area away from other horses that is easily accessed by a truck and with access to water.  We palpate the esophagus carefully in an external exam to find the location of the blockage.  Sometimes with a gentle massage it will break up if you are lucky. If after 10 mins it hasn't stopped and you have been constantly massaging the esophagus, you need to have your vet come out. They will need the water hose and should bring a clear hose and a bucket to flush and suck the debris out of your horses throat.  They should also prescribe an appropriate course of antibiotics to prevent a pneumonia event from occurring.  Remember, an untreated choke can lead to colic and aspiration, even pneumonia. 

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